When asked what she would say if she could speak to a million people, Lauren answered, “Do you have any pets?”
A new blog put together by three Penn students features photos and stories from what might be an unexpected location: the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, in University City. The blog, called A Different Kind of Expression, uses the style of Humans of New York (and its many imitators) to give the world a window into the lives of the kids who spend their days at the school, and the adults who support and educate them.
Nikhil Rajapuram, one of the founders of A Different Kind of Expression, has worked with HMS for almost two years, and he was looking for a way to share the amazing stories he saw there. “The biggest issue facing people with disabilities, especially cerebral palsy, is social stigma,” he says. He hopes that this site can help fight that stigma by helping people understand the cerebral palsy community.
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Dave Dudar, an Atlanta photographer who’s made a name for himself shooting “masculine and bearish” men, is coming to Philly to shoot some of the beefcakes in our fair city on April 18th.
His outfit is called “Manshots By Dave,” and his credits include work with bear blog Modern Bear, and features in Satelite and HDM. Dudar tells me he wants to come to Philly, because “it is the fifth largest city in the country—but often overlooked. There’s a lot of authentic handsome in a city so big.”
All of his shoots are done outdoors, in urban settings that suit the city he’s in. So, for instance, in Philadelphia, he may shoot a guy on a cobblestoned street with a rowhouse as a backdrop—or maybe in the alley in front of The Bike Stop. “I’m looking for things that make Philadelphia unique,” he says.
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Sarah Bloom is a 45-year-old photographer who makes her living by shooting weddings and portrait photography. But Bloom, who lives in Narberth with her 19-year-old daughter, also finds her way into abandoned buildings to take nude self-portraits among the decay, and she’s just gotten international attention for it. Here, she tells us why she does it. A gallery, used with permission, appears after the interview.
So why nude and why in abandoned buildings in Philadelphia?
I had already been taking photos of myself naked to try and get more comfortable with my body. I liked the nude form because of the vulnerability and fragility of our physical beings. And the buildings became a canvas, a backdrop for me. I think they’re beautiful. Sad and beautiful. Aging can be sad but also beautiful, and I try to embrace it as such. There’s a lot of loss there, but also a beauty to it.
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Rachelle Lee Smith
Chances are, you’ve seen Rachelle Lee Smith‘s work: you just haven’t realized it is hers.
If you’ve walked by the now abandoned Robbinson Luggage store on the corner of Broad and Walnut over the last few months, you’ve surely taken note of the plethora of pictures of LGBTQ youth in the windows. This pop-up project, which is part of Smith’s Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus, has brought her photography quite a bit of local attention. The aim of Smith’s photoessay is to, according to her, “open up minds, humanize the people who fall under the LGBTQ (and the list goes on) spectrum, and create empathy.” Read more »
A book launch and reception was held Friday night at University of the Arts for photographer and Associate Professor Barbara Proud’s new page-turner First Comes Love: Portraits of Enduring LGBTQ Relationships (Soleil Press).
Barbara Proud (right) and Jan Felshin, who's been with her partner, Edrie Ferdum, for 55 years.
Home Nguyen, Dan Martin, Leng Lim and Michael Biello. Nguyen and Lim, Manhattan residents, are subjects in the book and have been together 19 years.
CJ Harker and Sean Dyroff
George Beschen, director of donor relations at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Jordan Rockford, senior lecturer/academic advisor at UArts.
Richard Moore, Jeannette Moore, Maggie Bays, and Stuart Hovell are related to Proud. They tell me that she and her partner, Allison, have the longest relationship in the family, and many of the family members go to them when they need advice.
Marc Silver and James Rose, both artists, tell me the secret to their longevity is allowing each other the space to exercise their creativity in isolation, and not get personal about it.
The forward to the book was written by Edie Windsor, whose challenge and eventual beating of DOMA seemed to set in motion the equality marriage act that is sweeping the nation.
Laura and Jennifer Zaylea have been together for six years, having met in grad school. They recently became parents to twin girls and reside in Delaware. They tell me they're not getting a lot of sleep, but are loving the experience.
Edrie and Jan together 55 years. Edrie was the head of the dance program at Temple University for 30 years.
Harvey Hurdle and Kevin Yoder are the proud dads of 2-year-old Evan Hurdle-Yoder. The dads have limited contact with the mother but share photos of Evan with her via Facebook. The couple was wed on their 25th anniversary in Washington DC in 2013, as Pennsylvania hadn’t allowed same-sex marriages at the time.
Santiago Ortiz and Pablo Garcia have been together 23 years. Pablo (right) is a native of Venezuela, and has been living undocumented for over 20 years. Despite being legally married in Connecticut in 2011, the couple had lived in fear that Garcia would be deported, but now that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional, Garcia is allowed to apply for a green card as Santiago’s spouse. Their story was documented in a Time magazine article and on Buzzfeed last year.
Rasheda Hampton, Marisa Marchegiano and Michele Marchesiano were glad to be on hand to support several of their friends who are featured in the project.
Students from University of the Arts entertain guests.
Juan and Imelda Sanchez with their son Juan ‘Toby’ Sanchez and his partner Michael Marriott. Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez flew in from Houston, Texas to be there Friday night. Juan and Michael met in D.C. and still reside there. They are on the cover of the book. Mom and dad are very proud and supportive of their son.
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(Editor’s Note: Ticket editor Josh Middleton has designated this entry one of the blog’s top posts for 2014.)
If you regularly attend theatrical productions in Philadelphia, then you have probably seen two-time Barrymore-winning actress Amanda Schoonover on stage. But you’ve probably never seen her quite like this. Read more »
In his latest project, “I Have Something to Tell You,” Florida photographer Adrain Chesser snapped photos of his family and friends just moments after he told them he was HIV-positive. The collection portrays an array of emotions, from shock to befuddlement to just plain pity. But the process, Chesser told the Huffington Post, helped him conquer the fear of opening up to his loved ones:
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“Women Kissing” is one of the LGBT-centric images available in Zoe Strauss’s silent auction for First Person Arts.
Out Philly photographer Zoe Strauss has released a series of images from her 2007 documentary project, “If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In,” to a silent auction benefitting First Person Arts. The project was inspired by a sign she saw off the interstate in southwest Philadelphia advertising an AIDS prevention clinic. The original image, which was included in her 10-year retrospective in 2012 at Philadelphia Museum of Art, is included in the auction.
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The Philadelphia School Closing Photo Collective, a project marshaled by Zoe Strauss, will begin a weeklong exhibit of 20 of its photographs at West Philly’s Scribe Video Center on 42nd and Chestnut Streets starting October 16th. The photos document the physical and emotional blackness of the last days of some of the 24 shuttered Philadelphia schools.
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New York-based activist/photographer Ashley Kolodner is on an ambitious mission to highlight our pretty gay mugs in her latest project, aptly named “GAYFACE: 1st Class.” The work is a collection of diptych photo portraits of a rainbow of queer folk that she says empowers the queer community and highlights the beauty within all of us, regardless of where we fall on the LGBTQ spectrum.
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